5 Gyres works to help stop plastic pollution of microbeads

plastic microbeads

The issue of plastic in our oceans is huge – and growing! Even with encouraging news regarding Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat’s plan to clean up half the Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, the issue of microbeads remains.

Plastic microbeads are in beauty products like toothpaste and facial scrubs in humongous amounts. One tube of exfoliating scrub can contain over 350,000 plastic microbeads! It’s estimated that 471 million microbeads are released into the San Francisco Bay every day.

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The environmental hazards of microbeads

Plastic microbeads  – tiny, toxic, plastic beads – are in many of our personal care products, like face scrub and toothpaste. They’re so tiny that they are washing down the drains and into our precious waterways.

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

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New technology effective at filtering ocean plastics without harming sea life

Plastic recovered from our ocean's gyres

Plastic recovered from our ocean’s gyres

The plastic pollution in our oceans is a killing our marine life. Sea birds, seals and other marine animals and mammals are turning up dead with lots of plastic in their stomachs that they mistook for food. The problem is that so much of this plastic is small fragments, making it extremely difficult to simply scoop up and recover.

Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans, with estimates that every square mile of the ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one.

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SC Johnson and bloggers encourage greener lifestyle – but are they missing the point?

SC Johnson logoIt’s commendable when a giant manufacturer like S.C. Johnson really puts its focus on green living. And even better when it strives to get the message out to as wide an audience as possible via the internet. But looking beyond the hype, one has to wonder if perhaps they’re missing the point somehow.

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California’s plan to create green jobs – increase recycling

California's goal to achieve a 75 percent recycling rate would create thousands of green jobs, photo courtesy of Recology

California’s goal to achieve a 75 percent recycling rate would create thousands of green jobs, photo courtesy of Recology

California has earned its reputation for leading the way in green innovation and legislation. In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 341, which  required the mandatory commercial recycling in California beginning July 1, 2012. This new law modified the California Integrated Waste Management Act, establishing a policy goal that “75 percent of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020.”

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A growing national trend turns plastic bags into bedding for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless; photo by Debra Atlas

As cities around the country are banning or placing a tax on plastic bags, some people are turning lemons into lemonade. A growing number of church groups and students are turning single use plastic bags into bed mats for the homeless. Continue reading

Celebrate America Recycles Day today – don’t toss the recyclable stuff

America Recycles Day logoIn case you don’t know about it, today is America Recycles Day. This partnership between Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council, it’s a day that serves to remind consumers of the importance of recycling and to raise awareness of the growing myriad of items that can be recycled.

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